OK, guys, it’s time to practice your downloading skills. Here’s a very handy cartridge information sheet you will definitely want to save for future reference. Shown below is Page One of the Primer Size and Bullet Diameter Chart created by Graf & Sons. This chart shows the bullet diameter and primer size for more than 320 popular cartridges*. The full three-page chart is available in PDF format for easy printing.
NOTE: If you have the PDF reader installed in your browser, the Graf’s Chart may open in a new tab when you click on the image above. To save the three-page PDF file to your computer or device, click the Floppy Disc icon that appears in the lower right (after the PDF file opens). Here is the direct link:http://www.grafs.com/uploads/technical-resource-pdf-file/12.pdf.
Note: There are a few mistakes. If you are making 22 BR from Lapua brass, you’ll want a small rifle primer. Likewise with 25-20 WCF, you want a small primer.
Resource Tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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What cartridge would your chose to hit targets at long range … extremely long range, as in 2500 yards? Well, for ace competitive shooter Darrell Buell, the answer is the .338 Allen Magnum, a .408 Cheytac necked down to .338. This “super-sized” cartridge flings .338-caliber, 300-grain Berger Hybrid bullets at 3450 fps. That delivers some impressive ballistics at ultra-long range. Darrell got to “test-drive” a .338 Allen Magnum rifle at 2500 yards (1.42 miles) while teaching a Long-Range Seminar at the Legion Operator Training Group (OTG) Facility in Blakely, Georgia.* The rifle belonged to Christopher Sykes.
Shown below is the 338 Allen Magnum (AM) next to a .308 Winchester round loaded to an extremely long OAL. The .338 Allen Magnum is a wildcat based off the .408 Cheytac (Cheyenne Tactical) parent case. The cartridge’s inventor, Kirby Allen, states: “The .338 Allen Magnum, when loaded with a 300gr SMK, offers a legit 500 to 600 FPS velocity advantage over the 338 Lapua Magnum”.
Darrell says: “Yeah, it’s a beast [but] with that brake, it kicks less than my .308 competition rifle. It’s got more energy at 2500 yards than a .45 ACP has at the muzzle. The .338 Allen cartridges are standing next to the SEB Joy-pod, along with a standard .338 Lapua Magnum cartridge. With the excellent muzzle brake on the .338 Allen, I could spot my own hits with just the slightest twitch of the joystick. The rifle was not particularly heavy, consequently the pod would hold the crosshairs where you left them without a hand on the joystick.”
When you look at a loading manual with load data, you will usually see pressure ratings for stated load. Sometimes these are listed in PSI numbers, which most people correctly understand to be Pounds per Square Inch of pressure. However, powder-makers also commonly list pressure in CUP numbers. CUP stands for Copper Unit of Pressure. You may be asking — “What exactly is a CUP, and what is the origin of that unit of measurement?” You may also be wondering — “What’s the difference between CUP pressures and PSI pressures?” On Hodgdon’s Facebook Page, you’ll find answers to these questions.
Q: What is CUP?
A: Copper Unit of Pressure (CUP) is a measurement used in the ammunition industry to determine the chamber pressure created by a cartridge load. Originally, a precisely formed copper slug was placed in a fixture over the chamber. When the cartridge was fired, the amount of crushing measured on the slug allowed engineers to determine the pressure.
These days, modern electronic transducers provide faster, more accurate measurements of chamber pressures in pounds per square inch (PSI). CUP and PSI are measured to different scales and are NOT interchangeable.
Hodgdon Reloading Data Center Sample
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Are you bored with your “whimpy” .50 BMG? Looking for something with a little more punch? Well J.D. Jones and his team at SSK Iindustries have created a truly big boomer — the .950 JDJ. As its name implies, rifles chambered for the cartridge have a bore diameter of 0.950″ (24.13 mm). This would normally make such rifles “destructive devices” under the 1934 National Firearms Act (NFA). However, SSK obtained a “Sporting Use” exemption allowing the rifles to be sold without special restrictions as destructive devices. CLICK HERE to watch .950 JDJ being fired.
.950 JDJ Specifications
Rifle Cost: $8000.00
Ammunition Cost: $40.00 per round
Projectile Weight: 3,600 grains (more than half a pound)
Rifle Weight: Between 80 and 120 pounds
Muzzle Energy: 38,685 ft/lbs (52,450 Joules)
Momentum: 154.1 Newton-seconds
As crafted by SSK Industries, .950 JDJ rifles use McMillan stocks and very large-diameter Krieger barrels fitted with a massive 18.2-lb muzzle brakes. The ammo produced by SSK features solid 3,600 grain bullets and CNC-machined cartridge brass. It is also possible (through a lot of work), to use a 20mm cannon casing shortened and necked-down.The primer pocket is swaged out to accept a .50 cal machine gun primer. That 3,600 grain bullet is just massive — it weighs more than half a pound. The cartridge propels its 3,600 grain bullet at approximately 2,200 fps. This yields a muzzle energy of 38,685 ft-lbs and a momentum of 154.1 Newton-seconds. The energy on target (knock-down power) is comparable to WWI-era tank rounds.
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Here’s a great video from German ammo-maker GECO (part of the Swiss RUAG group of companies). Employing advanced 3D rendering and computer graphics, this animation unveils the inside of a pistol cartridge, showing jacket, lead core, case, powder and primer. Next the video shows an X-ray view of ammo being loaded in a handgun, feeding from a magazine.
Then it really gets interesting. At 1:32 – 1:50 you’ll see the firing pin strike the primer cup, the primer’s hot jet streaming through the flash-hole, and the powder igniting. Finally you can see the bullet as it moves down the barrel and spins its way to a target. This is a very nicely-produced video. If you’ve ever wondered what happens inside a cartridge when you pull the trigger, this video shows all. They say “a picture’s worth a thousand words”… well a 3D video is even better.
For Best Viewing, Click Gear Symbol and Select HD Playback Mode
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Shoot 101 Quiz
Vista Outdoors (formerly ATK Sporting Group) has launched a new multi-platform media campaign called Shoot 101. Combining print, web, and television, Shoot 101 provides “how to” information about shooting, optics, and outdoor gear.
On the Shoot 101 website, you’ll find a Ballistics Quiz. The questions are pretty basic, but it’s still fun to see if you get all the answers correct.
You don’t need a lot of technical knowledge. Roughly a third of the questions are about projectile types and bullet construction. Note, for some reason the layout doesn’t show all the possible answers at first. So, for each question, be sure to scroll down using the blue scroll bar on the right.
By Dennis Santiago
Competition teaches you things. Compared to loading for benchrest bolt guns, producing ultra-reliable and accurate ammo for tight-chambered, semi-auto .308 target rifles requires a different approach to case prep. Smoothness of operation is much more important in a field course gun. Reliability trumps everything (even case life) for these types of guns.
In the photo below, there’s a Redding small base body die for bumping the shoulder and making sure the case body is at SAAMI minimum. This body die is not just nice to have. It is vital. There are also a full-length sizing die and a Lee Collet neck-sizer in that turret holder. One or the other gets used after the body size die depending on what rifle the ammo will be used in. The semi-auto rounds always go through the full-length sizing die. After that comes trimming and finally cleaning — then loading can begin. The cases are trimmed using a Gracey trimmer so everything’s the same each and every time. I use an RCBS Competition Seater Die to seat the bullets. One nice feature of this RCBS die is the open side slot that allows you to place bullets easily.
It’s a long path methodology but uniformity is accuracy. More important for safety, controlling “stack-up” errors in the system solution is how one achieves reliability. The chamber-hugging philosophies of benchrest bolt guns do not apply well to AR-10s. Like most things, the right answer is context-dependent. Success is about accepting and adapting.
Dennis Talks About Using a Semi-Auto in Tactical Competitions
I have succumbed to the Dark Side — deciding to put an AR-10 together. For tactical competitions you want a bolt gun most of the time but there are times the course of fire favors the use of a semi-auto. I was using an M1A that gives me 0.75 MOA performance but I heard people were getting almost bolt-gun-level, half-MOA accuracy out of their AR-10s — so I wanted to see if that was really achievable. A quarter-MOA difference in accuracy potential may seem tiny in practical terms but it will make a difference in competition. In a match, the difference between 3/4-MOA and 1/2-MOA can alter your hit probability on a small target by 20-30%.
The AR platform also lets you tinker with triggers, stock ergonomics and muzzle brakes that help in managing the dynamics of a long distance shot better. Well I found out you can get the incremental accuracy but there’s more work to do to get the same reliability. Being a curious sort, it’s worth it to me to explore it. It’s a far cry from as-issued M-1 shooting with whatever HXP is handy. This is definitely swimming in the deep end of the pool.
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It’s not easy to place a first shot on target at 1500 yards. You must measure the wind speed with precision, know your exact muzzle velocity, and have a sophisticated ballistics solver. In this short video from Ryansrangereport.com, the shooter manages a first-round hit on a steel silhouette at 1500 yards. He used a Kestrel 4500 NV Weather Meter with Applied Ballistics software to figure out the trajectory for his 6.5 Creemoor rounds.
The Kestrel recorded a wind velocity, and the internal software calculated a solution of 17 Mils elevation (that’s 928 inches of drop) with 2.5 Mils windage. “Bang” — the shooter sends it, and 2.6 seconds later “Clang” he had a hit (flight time was 2.6 seconds). Bryan Litz observes: “This is the science of accuracy (in the form of an Applied Ballistics Kestrel) being put to good use at 1500 yards”.
Later in the video (1:05-1:15) the shooter places three rounds on steel at 1000 yards in just 10 seconds. The three shots all fall within 10″ or so — pretty impressive for rapid fire. The shooter reports: “[In my 6.5 Creedmoor] I’m using a 136gr Lapua Scenar L. This bullet has impressed me. It screams out of my barrel at 2940 fps and holds on all the way out to 1,500 yards.”
The rifle was built by Aaron Roberts of Roberts Precision Rifles (RPRifles.com). Chambered for the 6.5 Creedmoor, it features a Leupold Mark VI 3-18x44mm scope.
The 14th Edition of Cartridges of the World is a handy reference that contains illustrations and basic load data for over 1500 cartridges. If you load for a wide variety of cartridges, or are a cartridge collector, this book is a “must-have” resource. The latest edition (released in December 2014) includes 50 new cartridges. This important reference guide can be ordered through Amazon.com for $28.42 (or just $20.99 for a Kindle eBook version).
Cartridges of the World, the most widely-read cartridge reference book, has been totally updated, with a newly expanded, full-color 64-page color section featuring essays from some of today’s most prominent gun writers. The 14th Edition of Cartridges of the World (ISBN: 9781440242656) includes updated cartridge specs, plus essays by leading writers on the topics of SAAMI guidelines, wildcatting, and new cartridge design trends. Cartridges of the World is the most authoritative cartridge reference guide in print.
Cartridges of the World by author Frank C. Barnes was first published in 1965. The 14th Edition is edited by W. Todd Woodard, Editor of Gun Tests magazine and author of several firearms reference books. Frank Barnes (1918-1992) began collecting information on handgun cartridges at the early age of 12, thanks to his father, a police officer. Frank Barnes was an innovative cartridge designer, who invented the original 308 x 1.5″ Barnes, predecessor of the 30BR case.
Before Frank began a law enforcement career, he was a college professor. Frank was also a pilot, and a race-car driver. Learn more about Cartridges of the World (14th Ed.) at www.gundigest.com.
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The Lone Ranger used silver bullets… now you can too. Well, they’re not really silver, but they look like silver and they are lead-free. Norma’s new ECOSTRIKE™ bullet features a copper core with a proprietary silver-color plating to reduce fouling. Why is Norma offering a lead-free bullet? Well, in some locations, such as California, the use of traditional, lead-core bullets has been highly restricted. The Ecostrike give hunters the opportunity to shot hard-hitting, deep-penetrating projectiles, even where lead-cored bullets are banned. Norma explains: “The Ecostrike is designed to give… penetration deep enough to reach the vital organs even on large animals. The controlled expansion and a very high retained weight guarantee a consistent behavior and deep penetration.”
Being totally lead-free, Ecostrike bullets are California-compliant, and they can be used in other regions where lead ammo is restricted. Currently, Norma plans to offer Ecostrike bullets in four popular calibers: 7mm (.284), .308 (7.62 mm), 8mm, and 9.3 mm. Spanning the range from 7mm up to 9.3 mm, Ecostrike bullets will be available for the most popular big game cartridge types. Norma also plans to produce loaded ammunition featuring the new Ecostrike bullet.
“Silver Bullet” Bullion cartridges are produced by the NW Territorial Mint. The Norma Ecostrike bullets contain no silver, just copper and a proprietary plating. But they do look like silver bullets.
Product tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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In January, during SHOT Show, Bullets.com President Shiraz Balolia inked a contract with Norma to produce ultra-high-quality .284 Winchester and 6mm Dasher brass. This was great news for competitive shooters. The .284 Win is the caliber to beat in F-0pen competition and the 6mm Dasher holds most of the records in the 600-yard benchrest game.
We’ve just learned that the new Norma .284 Win brass is in production and should be available in five to six weeks. Shiraz tells us: “Production is in full swing in Sweden and the picture below shows the very first .284 Win case that came off the line. They [.284 Win cases] are in testing and we expect to have them here in USA by the end of April.”
Bullets.com should start taking pre-orders in the near future. Shiraz explained: “As far as pre-orders for the Norma .284 Win brass go, we are waiting for final pricing. When we have that, we will make the .284 Win brass active on our Bullets.com website and will take orders. Those orders will be shipped in the order they were received.”
NOTE: This is just a QuickDESIGN drawing, NOT the Norma brass blueprint. Dimensions may vary slightly, so do not use this to spec reamers or other tools. Wait until you can measure the actual brass.
What about 6mm Dasher Brass from Norma?
Dasher fans will have to wait a little longer. Shiraz Balolia says: “It may be months for the Dasher brass. We will keep on them, but if I were to guess, it will be late summer 2015″.
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Add the Washington Post to the growing list of sources that credit President Obama with being the best salesman for firearms and ammunition that the country has seen since Samuel Colt. Using a simple linear trend analysis based on NSSF-supplied data, Washington Post writer Philip Bump calculated that the U.S. firearms industry has enjoyed a $9 to $10 billion increase in sales of guns and ammo during President Obama’s terms in office. CLICK HERE for full story in Washington Post.
Take a look at this chart — it shows a huge increase in sales of long guns, handguns, and ammunition during the Obama presidency. (NOTE: There is a decline at the extreme right of the chart because 2014 data only goes through the third quarter of the year.) You can seen why there have been shortages of ammunition. Look at the huge spike in ammo sales (orange zone) over the past six years. This may explain why some retailers ironically refer to the nation’s top elected official as “President ObAMMO”.
By comparing past industry sales numbers with figures for the past six years, the Washington Post calculates that the firearms industry has enjoyed a remarkable period of growth: “If you calculate out the difference between what might have been expected and what was, it’s about a $10 billion increase [in sales]”. We’ve seen evidence that things are cooling off, but according to the Washington Post: “The $9 to $10 billion in increase under Obama will keep growing, through the end of 2016. At which point gun manufacturers will probably be sad to see Obama go — even if gun buyers are not.”
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You’ve probably heard the term “Terminal Ballistics”. But do you really know what this refers to? Fundamentally, “Terminal Ballistics” describes the behavior of a projectile as it strikes, enters, and penetrates a target. Terminal Ballistics, then, can be said to describe projectile behavior in a target including the transfer of kinetic energy. Contrast this with “External Ballistics” which, generally speaking, describes and predicts how projectiles travel in flight. One way to look at this is that External Ballistics covers bullet behavior before impact, while terminal ballistics covers bullet behavior after impact.
The study of Terminal Ballistics is important for hunters, because it can predict how pellets, bullets, and slugs can perform on game. This NRA Firearm Science video illustrates Terminal Ballistics basics, defining key terms such as Impact Crater, Temporary Cavity, and Primary Cavity.
External Ballistics, also called “exterior ballistics”, is the part of ballistics that deals with the behavior of a non-powered projectile in flight.
Terminal Ballistics, a sub-field of ballistics, is the study of the behavior and effects of a projectile when it hits its target.
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If you have ever turned a large quantity of case-necks using power assist, you know that a carbide mandrel can make the job go easier, with better end results. In our experience, when using carbide mandrels (as opposed to ordinary steel), the cases move more smoothly with less heat build-up. Pat Reagin of PMA Tool explains why carbide neck-turning mandrels work better:
Carbide offers several advantages over conventional steel and stainless steel when making any tooling, specifically neck-turning mandrels:
Dimensional Stability — Carbide maintains its dimensions indefinitely during heating and cooling. This eliminates the need to allow the mandrel time to cool every few cases.
Coefficient of Friction and Wear-Resistance — Carbide exhibits a low coefficient of friction value as compared to all steels and wears up to 100 times longer. This reduces (but does not eliminate) the amount of lubricant required.
Galling Resistance — Carbide has exceptional resistance to galling and welding at the surface. This basically eliminates the chance of getting a case stuck on a mandrel due to insufficient lubrication.
Given the benefits of carbide neck-turner mandrels, you may be asking “where can I get one?” Sinclair Int’l offers carbide mandrels for Sinclair neck-turners for $49.99, in a full range of calibers: 17, 20, 22, 6mm, 25, 6.5mm, 270, 30, and 338.
$49.95 Carbide Mandrels from PMA Tool
PMA Tools now also offers carbide mandrels in a full variety of sizes. At $49.95 each, PMA’s carbide mandrels are priced competitively with Sinclair’s mandrels. PMA offers carbide mandrels in .17, .20, .22, 6mm, 6.5mm, 7mm and .30-caliber. These will work with Sinclair Int’l and 21st Century neck-turners, as well as PMA neck-turners. PMA tells us: “We now have carbide neck-turning mandrels in stock. These mandrels are made with high-tech CNC grinding-machinery, and should give you excellent results. We hope to be add other larger-caliber carbide mandrels to our lineup in the future.”
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Here’s a great search service that can help you locate hard-to-find ammunition and reloading components — while saving money in the process. Ammoseek.com monitors more than a dozen online vendors — checking current pricing and available inventory, for pistol, rifle, and shotgun ammunition. Need .45 acp ammo for your 1911? Just select “.45 ACP” from the “Quick Seek” list on the right. Likewise you can find .223 Rem and .308 Win Rifle ammo with one click.
Find .22 LR Ammo Quickly
Looking for hard-to-find .22 LR rimfire ammunition? Well AmmoSeek makes it easy — you don’t even have to enter any search words. Simply click on the highlighted links for AmmoSeek’s 22LR Page.
Use Ammoseek.com to Find Reloading Components Too
Ammoseek.com also lets you search for reloading components, including powder, primers, brass, and bullets. This is a huge time-saver. You can instantly check a dozen or more vendors to see if a particular type of powder is in stock. Likewise, you can quickly check for primer availability. If you have a big match coming up and are short on primers — this could solve the problem.
Story Tip by Boyd Allen. We welcome reader submissions.
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